Friday, December 17, 2010

House Passes Tax Deal

WASHINGTON -- A coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats combined to push the Obama-GOP tax-cut deal through the House by a vote of 277-148 in Friday's early morning hours. The bill slashes the estate tax, extends all the Bush tax cuts and reauthorizes unemployment insurance for 13 months. The bill will now go to the president for his signature.

The crucial vote was not on final passage of the tax cuts, but on the vote before, to reduce the generosity of the estate tax cut. Had it been included in the final measure, the bill would have gone back to the Senate. An identical version of that amendment passed in December 2009 with 225 votes, but it failed this time 233-194, with 60 Democrats voting against tightening the estate tax.

President Obama whipped support for the tax-cut deal in the final days leading up to the vote. One member told HuffPost that Obama, a Hawaii native, personally called Hawaii Democrat Mazie Hirono to urge her to support the deal. (She voted against the tax-cut deal and for increasing estate taxes on wealthy heirs, despite the pressure.)

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